Venture Development Psychology: Become Who Your Venture Needs You to Be!

Are you an established or aspiring entrepreneur? If so, you know that the vast majority of ventures fail.

Are your efforts to establish, build, or expand your business or nonprofit producing the results you want at the pace you believe should be realistic? Or do you feel like you’re floundering in some way? If so, you’re far from alone.

Why do promising ventures bog down? Because, even though most venture developers don’t realize it, leaders, their teams, and their investors, build ventures at the level of their psychological limitations not their entrepreneurial intentions™.

Psychological limitations not only sabotage venture viability and profitability; they also inadvertently set up your venture for relationship conflicts and integrity problems. The shame of it is, these costly complications are hugely avoidable.

No matter where you are in your venture development process — concept phase, initial fundraising phase, build-out phase, launch phase, sustainability phase, expansion phase, or exit phase — now is the time to fully become who your venture needs you to be.

As Special Counsel to the Chairman & Board of CEO Space International, a 20+ year-old business development organization, I have been in a unique position to observe clear psychological trends in why entrepreneurs succeed and fail. As a Venture Development Psychologist, I draw upon nearly three decades of experience as a clinical & organizational development psychologist, leadership TheraCoach, integrity expert, and Wordsmithing Alchemist™ to serve as a one-of-a-kind resource to help business and nonprofit ventures of all kinds develop the psychological savvy they need in order to avoid the traps that cause ventures to fail.

Dr. Gruder's Venture Development PsychologyIntroducing Venture Development Psychology

VDP is the study and application of…

  1. Psychological factors related to the success and failure of entrepreneurial, business & nonprofit ventures.
  2. Psychological mindsets, road maps, strategies, tactics & skills that most help ventures succeed.
  3. Boosting the aspects of emotional, relationship, & integrity IQ among enterprise leaders, managers & teams that contribute to sustainable success.

What Makes Ventures Succeed or Fail?

After intensively studying the psychological factors in successful venture development over the past two years (I am in my third decade as a clinical and organizational development psychologist), it is clear to me that the famous Peter Principle applies as much to Venture Developers as to employees: Just as “employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence,” so do venture developers rise to their level of incompetence… and at grave detriment to their venture’s viability.

Here are my key preliminary findings on why ventures succeed and fail:

The majority of floundering Venture Developers appear to…

  • Start building their venture before they have fully adopted an entrepreneurial mindset, identified their ultimate exit goals, and right-sized their venture to match those goals.
  • Have significant unrecognized deficits in their emotional, relationship or integrity IQ, and/or their brain functioning (such us unaddressed attention deficit disorder, for instance).
  • Try to select and manage a team to help them build out their venture before they have identified: 1) their own gifts and limits; 2) the additional expertise and resources their venture requires; and 3) the leadership skills they’ll need to upgrade in order to properly select and effectively manage the team they need in order to succeed.
  • Don’t fully identify, or try to sidestep attending to every dimension that will be necessary for their venture to succeed.
  • Push themselves and their team to move into implementation before they have established full informed-consent commitment to doing all that will be needed to build their venture to meet their exit goals.
  • Become confused and stuck because they do not use a Venture Development Superstructure, and a primary Venture Development Mentor, to help them stay on track.
  • Struggle with how to build their ventures without sacrificing their personal integrity, health, life balance, most precious relationships, and/or social responsibility.

In contrast, the majority of successful Venture Developers appear to…

  • Use the Venture Development process as a path to expand their personal and relationship development, and to upgrade their emotional, relationship and integrity IQ.
  • Develop an entrepreneurial mindset, accurately identify their exit goals, and right-size their venture’s scope to match those goals.
  • Are clear with themselves and their team about their gifts and limits, and have a comprehensive and realistic understanding of the additional expertise and resources their venture requires above and beyond the gifts they bring to it.
  • Sharpen their leadership skills so they can effectively select and steward their team and their needed resources.
  • Have a full and accurate understanding of what is needed to build their venture and are fully committed to every piece of that, not just to some elements but not others.
  • Use a Venture Development Superstructure, and a primary ongoing Venture Development Mentor to help them optimize their ability to stay on track throughout their Venture Development process.
  • Build their ventures as an expression of their integrity and as a vehicle for their personal development.


“Based upon my experiences in working with entrepreneurs, especially those just getting started in building their business,
there is definitely a need and value to having an experienced psychologist on their team
to assist them in avoiding the pitfalls you’ve described above,
many of which I have personally seen first-hand.”
~ R. David Wallace, CPA, CFO


What Do Venture Development Psychologists Provide?

The mission of Venture Development Psychology is to place psychology in service of helping to create a sustainable economy by developing entrepreneurs, leaders and teams who are psychologically equipped to succeed and prosper without sacrificing their personal integrity, life balance or social responsibility.

Venture Development Psychologists mentor, train, facilitate and provide accountability support in all areas of Venture Psychology. They help leaders and their teams succeed with their entrepreneurial intentions instead of flounder because of their psychological limitations. Said another way, boosting theVenture Development Psychology IQ of those involved with your enterprise is your key to making integrity profitable and venture development enjoyable.

As perhaps the world’s first Venture Development Psychologist I help transform entrepreneurs & socialpreneurs, established businesses & leaders, and helping professionals, educators, & nonprofit founders, into successful Venture Developers, by serving as their trusted advisor, mentor, trainer and/or facilitator. I do this based on what I continue to discover about the psychological factors that most help ventures succeed, and by customizing my wide-ranging expertise to precisely fit each venture developer’s needs every step of the way.


“This gap for entrepreneurs is massive. You are on to something very special.
~ Hugh Ballou, Leadership & Culture Creation Expert


What Does Dr. Gruder in Particular Provide as a Venture Development Psychologist?

I am a trusted advisor who helps you and your team…

  • Crystallize your venture’s purpose and align it with your personal mission and that of each of your team members
  • Maintain passionate laser-like focus on the next and next and next things to be done in building out your venture
  • Communicate masterfully with your teams and stakeholders, through your marketing methods, and especially in challenging circumstances
  • Collaborate productively and enjoyably, including upgrading the psychological effectiveness of your agreements and accountability mechanisms
  • Have a great time getting and staying profitable without sacrificing integrity, life balance or social responsibility


These ideas fill a critical gap in corporate thinking today.
Psychology has a great deal more to offer successful businesses than it has to date,
and your bringing to business a combination of behavioral science and
emotional/relationship/integrity IQ is a winning formula.
~ David Feinstein, PhD, Entrepreneur, Thought Leader & Multi-Award-Winning Psychologist


Now is the Time to Psychologically Optimize Your Leadership & Your Venture’s Success

The exciting new cutting-edge specialty of Venture Development Psychology is waiting to offer you the psychological mindset, road map, and skills to supercharge the odds that your venture will succeed. And so am I. If you are a for-profit or nonprofit developer, a funder, or someone who teaches entrepreneurship, and you or the projects or students you’re connected with could benefit from Venture Development Psychology, I hope to hear from you.

  • To explore the ways you might benefit from my assistance as a Venture Development Psychologist, I encourage you to contact me through the contact form on this website to arrange a free initial discussion, or click on the box to the right to leave me your private voice message.
  • For more about my Entrepreneur MacroMentoring™ services, click here.
  • For more about my Leader MacroMentoring™ services for nonprofit, community & political leaders, click here.
  • For more about my Collaboration Culture Architect™ services for building healthy organizational cultures, click here.
  • For more about my PsychPreneur MacroMentoring™ services for mental health professionals & coaches, click here.
  • If you are just beginning your shift into becoming an entrepreneur and are exploring which of your passions would be your best one(s) to monetize, click here.
  • If you want to know about my Wordsmithing Alchemy™ services for handling challenging situations or for marketing purposes, click here.
  • To learn more about how my unusually varied background that led me to become a Venture Development Psychologist, click here.